Love and adult diapers

I remember I met a guy online once. He was trying to impress me. He said he cared for his aging mother for a few years until she died. He said he’d done this as an Act of Love.

My mother cared for my father for several years. She waited until the last ten days of his life before she was told that he needed so much nursing care that maybe he should spend his final days in a nursing home. I remember it was a tough decision. He didn’t want a nursing home, however they needed so many nurses, skilled nurses that hiring them to come to the home was too impractical at that point. Also, they needed equipment that my mother couldn’t obtain nor rent. Nowadays, I think renting such equipment might be possible, but then, it wasn’t at all practical. My mom found a place quickly and my dad, who could barely speak at that point, was agreeable.

I don’t happen to recall who called whom. My brother who had recently taken a job a distance away came to Massachusetts on emergency visit.

It was one of those “This Is It” situations.. Only if someone’s dying, or think they might be dying. You only show up at the beginning or end of life. This is when you see those long-lost relatives. They are ten years older now. Or gone.

I recall my mother explained to me about Dad being in the nursing home. She said, “It’s temporary.”

No, I didn’t ask for any further explanation. I knew there were unspoken follow-up sentences. I don’t need to write them, either.

I think someone tried to tell me in Plain English what was happening. Like I didn’t already know. You die of cancer. Okay.

I look back now, nearly 18 years later. I remember I thought my mother was being trite because she complained about changing adult diapers. Now, I admire her honesty. I admire her admitting she hated changing Dad’s diapers. I admire that she dared to speak up about how she truly felt. Another woman wouldn’t have dared to admit it, and only spoken of the “Act of Love” they did.

Perhaps, the guy I met online didn’t mind changing his mother’s diapers. Maybe he didn’t hate changing them. Maybe he never gave it a thought. Maybe he had never changed his own kids’ diapers, so he couldn’t see the irony in it.

Maybe my mother, after three years, was just plain worn out. She told me the folks at the nursing home were great with Dad. She showed up every day. One day it snowed so hard she had to take her cross-country skis across town to get to the nursing home. I no longer see my mother as the flighty, trite woman that I once portrayed her in my writing. I see her as a person who is strong, independent, and stubbornly refuses to give up.

Stories and my brain

When I took a course in human development decades ago, I recall the instructor told us about the various stages of development.  Of old age, she said that a characteristic of old people is that they REMINISCE.  She said if we were to listen to old people, such as our grandparents, we should allow the old people to tell stories about their childhood and their past, and this is natural and good for them to do.  She said it’s rather normal for old people to look over their lives as if they were reading about these events in a book.  Some old people enjoy writing their stories and this is called memoir.  The instructor said it would be a good learning experience to go to a nursing home and listen to old people.

Today, I know I’m not all that old, but I’m certainly old enough to be a granny if I’d had kids.  I have no dementia.  So everything that was in my memory has stayed there and is imprinted inside that brain of mine.  I inherited an exceptionally decent brain, at least in terms of high intelligence.  These things are also imprinted on my instincts and reflexes and upon my person as a whole.  My experience makes me uniquely me.

My stories make me me, too.  So this is what I am wondering….It’s silly question.  You know how they talk about the disk capacity of a computer?  When you have so many stories inside you, what if there are so many that there’s no more disk space left?

I’m good at storytelling. The past might make you who you are today, but it’s also true that you choose how you tell and then retell and write and rewrite your stories.

I’ve never heard of a person erasing themselves.  I don’t think you can completely wipe out your disk and install yourself over again, or take out part of yourself and put it on a handy portable drive.  Am I going too far with this?

It must have been about 15 years ago.  A writing instructor said right in front of the class that I had an amazingly accurate memory of my own past. I can’t recall the word he used to describe my memory.  Something term to do with pictures.  I felt rather bashful after he said that.  I didn’t want so much credit for something that came to me naturally and normally.

Having Googled it…I google everything…It’s called “photographic memory” and it has a rather broad meaning.  Honestly, I remember some things far better than others.  People only assume I have a poor memory because of my tendency to instantly forget a person’s name.  I tend to disregard hair color, make-up, and jewelry, cuz these things are meaningless on my priority list.

I’ll remember everything else.  Your tone of voice.  How you tower over me.  How I feel when you walk away.

I write stories.  I got this stuff imprinted on my brilliant disk of a brain, and so I write to survive.